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Yet Two More School Shootings

First, I want to give my apologies about not writing about these two tragedies earlier. I am not really a journalist, but I feel like as a writer I have a special duty to speak after such tragedies. So here it goes: the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. To show our love for the children of Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, we must act. For if we do not act, our words are meaningless. No doubt that this has itself been said over and over since Sandy Hook in Connecticut. In my memory there was another such tragedy at Columbine in Colorado, though at that time these incidents were much rarer and I was in High School myself. The point is, we must act.

I myself plan to write both my senator and my house of representative member. They are Republicans, but perhaps there in one or both of them a conscience still waiting to be awakened. Also I will say a few prayers tonight. Sometimes I am forgetful about my prayers, but this time I shall try to say something about the innocent children being murdered while going to school. And I will leave this following scriptural quotation because in a sense it is so relevant to the collection of little corpses at two more schools:

Alas!

Lonely sits the city

Once great with people!

She that was great among nations

Is become a widow;

The princess among states

Is become a thrall.

Bitterly she weeps in the night,

Her cheek wet with tears.

There is none to comfort her

Of all her friends…

With their own hands, tenderhearted women

Have cooked their children;

Such became their fate,

In the disaster of my poor people…

But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever,

Your throne endures through the ages.

Why have You forgotten us utterly,

Forsaken us for all time?
Take us back, O LORD, to Yourself

And let us come back;

Renew our days of old!

Lamentations 1:1-2; 4:10; 5:19-21

Jews believe that it is possible to live in exile even while living in the Promised Land itself. So it is that perhaps as long as these shootings exist in America, the people live in exile, as described in Lamentations, with the Temple’s destruction being Lamentation’s major theme. We will rebuild our Temple with laws governing how guns can be used and who can use them… but we also need a rebirth of the soul, a recognition of the value of human beings which is the bases both of our various religious traditions and our shared civil religion.

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New Publications

I want to apologize to any fans I have because I have not written in so long. The truth is that I have been under the weather, largely due to the fact I have Bipolar Schizoaffective Disorder. I won’t go into any details, but being mentally ill can cause a person to neglect the social whirl in which people are expected to take part. However, I have read Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and two of three volumes (I am 150 pages into the third) of The Cambridge History of Russia. And there is more.

I have published more of The Bible According to Eve with Urlinkpublishers.com. I already had The Bible According to Eve: The Women of the Torah published. Now, available at Amazon.com, I have:

The Bible According to Eve: The Nevi’im I: The Histories: Eve in Search of Adam;

The Bible According to Eve: Nevi’im II: The Seers: Eve Supplants Lilith;

and The Bible According to Eve: The Ketuvim: Eve Struggles with God and Man and Prevails.

Each of these books break down a certain portion of the Hebrew Bible, and focusses on the stories of the women in those portions. I really believe in this “Book” and hope that somebody will pay money to read it. I also have a book coming out–it is not religious but political in nature:
Faust in Love

It is about politics and Donald Trump is a major character being debunked in the book. I consider myself rather left of center in religion and politics: not really a fan of AOC but absolutely incensed by the racism promoted by Fox network. Although I voted for Hillary Clinton above Donald Trump, in the primaries I voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary because I felt he had more character–this despite being ambivalent about “Democratic Socialism.” I genuinely like Joe Biden and voted for him, but sometimes the left pushes me farther than I want to go: I don’t understand exactly what the theory of Critical Race Theory says–I mean I don’t understand it, not that I object to it per se–and I guess I didn’t understand how anyone could want to ban Dr. Seuss or other classic kids books from the classroom.

You could argue, “Well, it is not like you are banning War and Peace?” but I believe children who read great books as kids grow up to be great readers as adults. Besides, children ought to have some freedom to choose their own kid’s books, even beyond what their parents think. I hope that doesn’t sound like I am a silly person who doesn’t understand what is going on in our nation or the world.

I am just socially a tad more conservative than the average Democrat is supposed to be–a Conservative Jew who still believes in the goodness of George Washington and the Founding Fathers besides Abraham Lincoln–and sometimes that bothers me. This is despite my firm commitment to the belief in the equality of all human beings–in the form of saying that immigrants coming to America deserve respect, as do our traditional minorities. I believe that was what Thomas Jefferson was trying to say in the Declaration of Independence. I don’t care that he didn’t always live up to it in his private life.

Remembering Ukraine

With all of the flooding in Hurricane Ian, we must not forget our priorities in foreign parts of the world, like the War in Ukraine, as the Russians have invaded. And, of course, we must think further, when it is over, about Crimea and other places the Russians have invaded. More, we must bear in mind that despite the heroism of Zelensky and those leading Ukraine, the War between Russia and Ukraine is not wholly over. We must send guns and, possibly, troops.

I know this sounds hypocritical: I wrote darn little about Hurricane Ian, and probably I should have. Yet the problems we have at home are the ones best covered by our media, so I hope the reader will understand. Or if not understand, forgive.

At the same time, I think something needs to be covered that is being forgotten besides Ukraine: COVID-19 in our nation and worldwide. Despite the apparent decline in cases, I believe that people are still dying from it in the United States and in places like Brazil, India and Africa. Presumably places like the U.K., France and Italy have their own vaccines to give their citizens, who are ready to get those vaccines. So it is that not only should we give shots to people in the United States, the shots should be carried to those 3rd World places where the vaccine is not readily available.

In Gandhi’s Footsteps

Someday I hope to read from A Gandhi Reader, hoping to imitate the great man who said, “The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.” I am ashamed to say I see nothing in common with me and the great Hindu. Even our diets are dissimilar. For a while I ate vegetarian, but my doctors told me that I must eat meat, particularly lean beef and chicken, because if I did not get enough protein I could not live. In other words: in my bones I do not produce enough marrow. Because I don’t produce enough bone marrow, I do not produce enough red blood cells. Because of that my blood does not carry enough things like iron to my brain. I need that iron to produce things like dopamine, which creates “good feelings” in me. This also causes me to have insomnia at nights and tiredness during the day… That is part of why I have Bipolar Schizoaffective Disorder. Because of that I gave up vegetarianism…

Yet there is more to Gandhi than vegetarianism, surely. He also loved people so deeply… He was a profound people because he believed so fully in the fact that a person need not resort to warfare to defeat tyranny. Yet I have trouble believing this… when I look at Putin, for instance, I have trouble believing that anything but force matters to the cold-hearted monster. I find it hard to believe that anyone besides the average man cares about the right or wrong that felled the British empire.

Yet there is something of Gandhi–the spirit behind Martin Luther King and Mandela–that I wish I could keep. And it always seems ephemeral. Can I grasp the spirit of the man who inspired Martin Luther King to say, “the arc of history is long, but it tends towards justice.” And of course, Gandhi was devoted to Hinduism. He was not a secular apologist for Civil Liberties, but a devoutly religious man whose work on Hinduism I have only partly read. I long to reread his translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Yet somehow believing in him always eludes my abilities.

Children of the Cat Goddess I

I am going to begin this blog with the simple fact that Rosh Hashanah begins this evening. Then I will talk about my first book: Children of the Cat Goddess, about a race of super-intelligent alien Cats that exist on a different world in the Galaxy. I came up with these Cats in early college and finished writing their story during my sophomore year. It was a while before I “hit” on another idea worth writing about–my year as a grad school student–but Children of the Cat Goddess is my first real “book” (even if it is only 100 pages long). The Cats were matriarchal; had a Goddess; and the “Peninsula Cats” had a caste system based on eye color (the aristocracy had purple eyes).

Well, over the years I came up with various sequels, all of which until now are unwritten (I will find better names for the first four later):

  1. Northwards into the Chilly Winterlands;
  2. South into the Mountain Republics into the Jungle Lands;
  3. Further Southwards into the Lands of the Elephant Lords;
  4. Westward through the Seas to the Land of the Sabretooth Tiger and Wooly Mammoth;
  5. Tales of Cats and Larkumalki;
  6. The Book of Warren [a Cat who travels to Earth and writes his book about “the difference between Man and Beast, and how Man needs to respect Beast”].

Well, I am not giving up on the Tales of the Land of the Firebird, but I am working on a book which morphed from Tales of the Cats and Larkumalki: The Book of the Cats of Irlak. Larkumalki are, in effect, cat fairies or elves. Though they do not exist, the Irlaki Cats believe they do. The Book of Warren is self-explanatory. As for the other 4-book set, the idea is that the Peninsula Cats get the technology both from themselves and from the human crew that visits them, to travel throughout their world in discovery–the Cats discover something humans did late in our history: that it is not necessary to conquer either the other species of Cats or the Elephant Lords.

Someday I hope to publish my six-book set. Until then I work periodically on The Book of the Cats of Irlak, while doing reading for pleasure this week–Thomas the Rhymer; The Dog Master; and The Overstory; before getting back to my research for Tales of the Land of the Firebird. Sigh. I don’t know how I will get Tales of the Land of the Firebird done in time.

The Ethos of Writing

As any of my readers know, my favorite writer is Charles Dickens. I love him for his compassion, for his humor, for his challenge on behalf of the poor to those who were rich. I know he tended to focus on the social morality within England when he wrote, but I believe that despite this his morality transcends that limitation. When people read Dickens, they see how one person ought to treat another. They see how poverty should not exist, and they see the evils of drunkenness, gambling, and abuse. They see this despite his inimitable humor, and his portrayal of the love which a family can represent. When I read his works I reflect on the fact that in the West most people are no longer poor. I also reflect on what Dickens perhaps only imperfectly saw: that some day all people, whether they live in England or the United States, or in China or India or Africa, will live long lives of plenty, and will live lives of godliness and virtue. I know that I believe in Heaven, but like Dickens I cannot believe that God wishes for people to suffer in this world, either.

Because of this, I have written books about American rural poverty–Poor Folk and eventually Further Tales of Opossum Creek; 3rd World poverty–Brazil, so far; the many different types of Americans–This Land Was Made for You and Me (which I’ve barely begun); my own dysfunctional childhood–Discovering Wonderland; and Donald Trump’s corruption of America–Faust in Love. This is besides my religious poetry: The Bible According to Eve I-IV.

Right now I am focusing on a book which seeks to bring justice to Ukraine, or at least, do my small part to bring justice to Ukraine, but also to convert the Russians themselves to the belief that they can have a working democracy, if only they will stand up to Vladimir Putin as a single body. If they can see themselves in the noble little country of Ukraine, they will see that tyranny is a cancer on any society. If they see the similar plights of the Baltics, Poland, Chechnya, and even the Russian Jews as a mirror of autocratic oppression, they will see that these groups of people are their brothers and sisters, and that the common enemy they all share is both Vladimir Putin but also the remains of the Communist Party. It shouldn’t be true–though I read it is sometimes is in Secondhand Time–that a Russian should admire Joseph Stalin. No, if there are Chinese Communists outside of the country who see Mao as “China’s Hitler,” so, too, Stalin should be seen as “Russia’s Hitler, who murdered millions of innocent Russians.” Secondhand Time explained that the reason people refuse to acknowledge this is because many Russians were forced to act in collusion with the Soviet state to help murder their own friends and family members. Yet they need to know what Jews know about the concentration camps: people acted out of collusion, not of their own free choice.

I have mentioned that my book of stories about this oppression–the Russian Communist kind, Tales of the Land of the Firebird, Parts I and II, and that I sincerely hope I shall write The Autobiography of Mao Zedong and The Shadow of Mao Zedong (the latter of which will include not just China but also countries like Tibet; North Korea; Cambodia; Vietnam (an American soldier “visiting the land where I lost my soul’s real virginity”); and a story recalling the tragedy of the Rape of Nanking (“the atrocities both the Japanese and the Communist regime would as soon forget”).

I hope this doesn’t sound too much like propaganda. I am one of the few unreconstructed Cold Warriors, though I must make the notable exception of the morality of the United States’ role in Vietnam. Honesty compels me to admit, though, that I feel my country needs to be given something of its pride back, and that is why I high light our accomplishments and not just our mistakes. That is why I insist that I comment on the fact that a soldier who visited South Korea was thanked by a South Korean for his fighting the war which made at least half of Korea free.

At the same time I hope to write about a region which in recent years has suffered greatly at the hands of the United States, hoping in my small way to make amends. I wrote a book, Khadijah, about the Iraq War, which I never hope to publish. I felt in the end that it was not sympathetic enough, to either Jews or Muslims (considering my Jewishness the first is particularly shameful). However, after Tales of the Lands of the Firebird Part I, I hope to write a better book: In Honor of Khashoggi. I will describe it in greater detail at a later date.

All of this sounds far off from the ethos of Charles Dickens. Yet perhaps it is not. Dickens wrote in Little Dorrit about the evils of government bureaucracy. The inspiration of this was the mismanagement of that totally unheroic conflict, the Crimean War. There was literally a battle–Longfellow wrote about it–in which the soldiers marched straight into the line of enemy fire, only to discover that when they met their destination they had gained nothing. Then they turned around and walked right towards the area from which they came–again, into the range of enemy fire. The words echo in Longfellow, “there’s was not to reason why” but it made Dickens and the British public mad. Besides, though I have listed all of these projects, do not doubt I shall continue to write about America,

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
to the oceans, white with foam,
God Bless America,
My home sweet home.

To Save a World

I know yesterday I wrote about the sorrow that sometimes permeates my life. Yet today I want to write about something that gave me joy, if my own part in “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world) is perhaps a small one. I thought of it only because watching TV I saw a segment of a news show I saw Bill Gates explain how he is using his money to repair the environment and end world poverty. There are two Jewish expressions which explicate Tikkun Olam, “to save a life is to save a world,” and “you may not be able to save the world but to one person you may be the world.” I remember working at a mental health club, I saw this at work in my helping teach a brain-damaged patient, Larry Davis, how to read and write and do basic math.

I never doubted that if I saved that one soul–in the sense of teaching him how to take care of himself, as he had been able to do before a horrible car accident–I would have done all God demanded of me in this life. Yet in helping him a miracle occurred. I was able to help take care of other sick patients. I always think it is almost a sin to mention it because as a child I believed that when a person gives, it is a holier gift if they get nothing in return. I believed that still, and still do. Yet I feel compelled to tell my story anyway. I believe in helping save Larry I helped save a “world”–Breakthrough–for the members. Perhaps if each of us saved our “world”: a stranger, not just a relative or a friend, we would all save the world together. Perhaps by saving one world we save THE world itself.

Though as a Jew it is perhaps impious to quote the New Testament, I want to tell a story about Jesus which explicates my position. Jesus was ministering to a crowd and his disciples asked him, in effect, “How do we feed all these people?” He told them there would be a way. And a little boy gave him five loaves and two fishes. So Jesus took these foodstuffs and divided them into small pieces and each person in the crowd received a small piece of bread and fish. Everyone went home satisfied.

A person might question whether this was physically possible. Yet spiritually it is possible. Spiritually giving away the magic penny always brings more pennies. Spiritually it is always better to give than to receive. And that is why Jesus’ crucifixion supposedly saved the world. More, it is why Rabbi Akiba’s death helped save Judaism; why Buddha’s renouncing his royalty brought salvation to the Buddhist; and why other religious leaders have been called on to make great sacrifices to save their flock. My own personal favorite examples are Mother Teresa–who left everything she owned to help lepers–and Mahatma Gandhi–who ultimately died for India–of the extreme art of giving.

I never want to die a martyr–nobody who isn’t a fool does–but I hope if God demanded it I would obey. I know that worldly goods are not equal to spiritual goods. Yet poverty is one of the greatest evils that exist–along with warfare and disease. And ending these evils are simply a form of love–charity in Christianity and Tzedakah in Judaism.

So it was that I believe–and I hope I am not an egotist in believing it–that when I get to Heaven the first person I meet is Larry Davis. I believe my work at Breakthrough was the greatest work I shall ever do, and if I have any regrets it is that I am too worn out to go back to Breakthrough to do more work. Though I loved The Bible According to Eve as a book, I believe that it itself would not exist or be credible if I had not worked at Breakthrough–where I had the inspiration to write it.

In Love with Love

As the reader of my blog knows, the truth about my love life is its absence. My current “beloved” is Vlad. As is often the case, I feel his existence in my life is bigger than my existence in his. I hope such longings are not mere “obsessions” for a psychiatrists to analyze. I had a friend years ago to whom I was able to say, “Even if you are sick you need more people to talk to in this life than a psychiatrist.” Yet in my relationships I am forced to acknowledge the truth a therapist I had told me: a person must build up relationships based on more platonic basis (say, between the relationship between to heterosexual members of the same sex) before it is possible to date… So I have never told Vlad of my feelings.

I remember one of my favorite myths of Greek mythology is Narcissus and Echo. .. Narcissus falls in love with his own beautiful reflection while Echo cannot do anything but echo other people’s voices. He cannot really connect to her, and she cannot really connect to him. They are both caught in their own obsessions. I have often felt that way in love… the beloved has other things on his mind than me. If you believe Freud, we are all stuck in solipsism, torn into isolation, or to rephrase Thoreau “the mass of men live lives of desperate isolation.” To wish desperately to be known… I hope what I am writing is not too personal to write a Blog about.

I have tried to explain Bipolar Schizoaffective Disorder–that is my diagnosis–to people, and I never seem to succeed. What I say is that it is like living in a kaleidoscope. The “glass” that fractures my perception causes me pain but also an odd kind of pleasure–a unique vision which those who are “normal” cannot take part in. At the same time, I have gotten responses when I tried to explain my illness, “How can something that exists in your head only be all that upsetting?” Of course, Bipolar involves violent mood swings if I am not on my pills.

Still, all people long for love, I suppose. We all long to love and be loved.

Life is a Timed Test III

Today I finished reading This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared. It was… an unusual book, attempting to blend Judaism and, I think, Buddhism. I rarely know what to make of such attempts; on the one level I appreciate I appreciate their ecumenicism. I think that two things are vital to keeping this world going: 1. Religion; 2. Mutual respect within and between religions. I honestly have no problem with a person for whom these disparate elements gel. Yet I cannot honestly understand how they make sense together.

However, I will mention one of the few attempts at Buddhist outreach to other religions in general (not just Judaism in particular) when I found great personal meaning at the monk’s attempt to explain his faith to mine. I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation and did find one insight that has kind of stuck with me: According to Hanh, a person must embrace the seeds of suffering in order to turn them into joy. I find this idea emblematic to an underplayed aspect of Judaism: redemptive suffering, both on the part of the Messiah (for those who believe) or the Jewish people (for those with a more liberal understanding). My own theory is that while not all great leaders die like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and George Bell (who visited Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a supporter of the “Confessing Church” and who ploughed the seeds of the World Council of Churches), it is often the case expressed by Martin Luther King about Moses, “I can see the Promised Land,” that land they envisaged, just out of reach. The fact that their level of holiness is impossible for most of us should not depress us: we should be inspired by their efforts in order to further our own. And I am sure there are advocates of the Buddha or Krishna who realize sainthood in their practicing the faith.

I must confess here that though I have tried, I have never successfully meditated. Despite this, reading Hanh has helped me in my prayers: I have come closer to God by praying to God about personal hurts and disappointments as much as joys and successes. If mere contemplation of past hurts with feelings of love and acceptance–and I know that’s a little mushy–than the belief that the feelings resulting is God’s answer is helpful to my faith. Don’t get me wrong: I believe in the works aspect of my faith. For Jews, it is practicing of Judaism that makes a good Jew. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in faith, too. Yet I cannot believe that faith which is unenforced by works will not simply die of grief.

Life is a Time Test II

I read up to page 175 of This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared today after my Shabbat afternoon nap. The portion that strikes me is about a man who had “made it all” until his children’s drug addiction brought his, his wife’s, and his children’s lives all go to pieces. He spoke of how the man himself yelled at his daughter that he had given her “everything,” only to get the response that he had not given himself. And that answer struck him hard… eventually, they set up a PBS special about the family hoping that by publicizing their pain they could bring healing to others as well. It turned out that even this synopsis belies the pain at the heart of this family: the man had committed numerous adulteries, and there were other problems, too.

For Lew what was most moving was Pat, the wife and mother in the story. It was numerous episodes before she finally broke down and admitted that she was less than the perfect mother. He said there were critics who said that this was something to be ashamed of, but Lew could not feel she had done anything that was worthy of shame. I myself do not know, not having seen the show.

Yet perhaps the pain Pat felt in opening up is something I have felt over the years. I never know “when it is okay to open up” or “how much is appropriate to say.” I have lost friends over this. Yet at my synagogue and at my mental health club I have found healing in this sense: I can be around people who are my friends. And sometimes I can open up. I had troubles regarding things like that in East High School and Friends University.

Life is a Timed Test

I have read up to page 113 in This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared but hope that I shall read up to page 125 by the time this evening is up. Tomorrow I shall not read from the book, instead favoring The Last Unicorn. However, since we are having a Tuesday night class, I hope to read the 288 pages of the book read.

At first I had trouble relating to the book. I don’t mean to criticize; it just didn’t gel. However, finally I got to the portion where Lew discusses how he and his wife wanted a “spiritual” experience in her giving birth. He said that it was already hemmed in from the start: the doctors insisted she give birth in the hospital because she was older than most mothers. It got worse within the hospital, though: Lew’s wife had to leave the room because of complications in her pregnancy. Nonetheless, I guess they rated their “spiritual experience” rating high on how Lew’s wife gave birth.

I hate to admit to some cynicism when other people expect spirituality in terms of life cycle events. Or at least, so I thought at first. Then it occurred that I had a similar experience. When I went to the hospital for gallbladder surgery–and I know this doesn’t seem like extreme pain–during the month towards the surgery and afterwards, I felt as though I felt pain. I read the Jewish Publication Society Bible from Jeremiah to Chronicles and I read the Catholic “Old Testament” from surgery on to Yom Kippur (which was, admittedly, after the month after the surgery). I was told I was a good patient, but that I had complications in my surgery.

Next, about a year later and during COVID-19, I had similar pains in bed. It turned out–when I went to the doctor–that I had precancerous cysts on my liver. I might need surgery in 15 years, and in that surgery there was a possibility the surgery might itself create cancer. And of course, cancer kills. Right now because of this, I am taking walks and such because if I can reduce the size of my fatty liver I might be able to get a different surgery that will help cure me.

Both of these two instances involved pain. I know the reader thinks I am exaggerating… yet I did feel pain. And in my pain I did pray to God. And I admit that while praying I did not feel the pain eased, but that afterwards, when the pain was gone, I felt that God had been with me. I am not sure exactly how that helped me, but I believed that it did. I hope none of this is too mushy or sentimental for the reader.

It is that the experience Lew felt with his wife’s pregnancy–perhaps I felt it with the pain I felt in the emergency room, wishing the morphine would kick in–was something like what I thought.

Justice, Justice, Seek Ye Justice

I did read 58 pages of This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared. Tomorrow I plan to read more of it, too. Yet I also began the 1st 50 pages of The Last Unicorn. I suppose having read so little of either book it must seem strange that I am naming this Blog after one of them. Yet for the longest time I have wanted to read The Last Unicorn and Thomas the Rhymer. In fact there are several other books I have dreamed of reading and yet have found too little town: Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso; Tasso’s The Liberation of Jerusalem; and Camões’s Lusiadas. I also long to read Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book. Next there will be The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron; and Overstory by Richard Powers.

All that being said, after finishing This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared–hopefully by Tuesday–and then The Last Unicorn and Thomas the Rhymer–I shall go back to The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History and then Napoleon: A Life. I want to include the two fantasy novels to read because of my friend’s continual harping at me in order to read for “fun.” As for the three “epic” poems, I have often wished I could squeeze into the time to read them–but still have no idea when it would be. I have however read the first canto (20 pages) of Tasso’s The Liberation of Jerusalem. As for the others–The Ring and the Book; The Dog Master; and Overstory–I will need to wait until I have a juicy amount of time.

I admit that my near constant need to work is because of Tales of the Land of the Firebird and A History of Frances Westin Williams. Reading about the Napoleonic Wars is important for both Russian and Swedish histories. While reading The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, I decided to get biographies Napoleon: A Life and Alexander I: The Tsar Who Defeated Napoleon. Next I shall read considerably on other subjects, from Peter the Great: His Life and World and Catherine the Great: A Portrait of a Woman to countless books on Stalin and Putin. And of course, I have a copy of Das Kapital; a 3-volume Russian Philosophy; and Main Currents of Marxist Thought. I believe both Peter and Catherine made it so that Sweden was no longer a “Great Power.” Having finished Renia’s Diary and planning to reread The Diary of Anne Frank and Anne Frank Remembered, I shall read the following on weekends:

Raoul Wallenberg (another biography);
Letters and Dispatches 1924-1944: The Man Who Saved Over 100,000 Jews, Centennial Edition;
The Secret Holocaust Diaries;
The Girls of Room 28;

We are Witnesses: Five Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust;
Surviving Theresienstadt: A Teenager’s Memoir of the Holocaust;

Ester and Ruzya;
Haggadah of the Holocaust Survivors.

During the week, I shall read more histories of Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Chechnya, and the gypsies. Next I shall read about their folklore, and the “high literature” of Russia. I wish I knew more about the “high” literature of Poland, Ukraine, and (if there is any) Chechnya. Yet I don’t know how to go about finding it if it does exist, and time is of the element.

Yes, time is of the element… I hope to be read “up-to-speed” by next year… and though, God willing, it will be late enough that my work will not be necessary, I must keep writing towards the goal of bringing justice to Ukraine, but also Poland and even Chechnya. I hope some day I shall write a Tales of the Land of the Firebird Part II featuring the Balkans and Central Asia. As the Prophets say, “Justice, justice, seek ye justice.” By reading about the Holocaust I help bring about the messianic age.